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Old 04-14-2013, 06:23 AM   #46
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Stage 4: M'Hamid-Tata

This was the stage I was most looking forward to. I did it with Albert three years ago and I was impressed and exhausted ... It was incredible.
That year Albert with his SuperEnduro and me with a BMW GSA we find dunes, and a terrible rocky ground since the Sacred Oasis, the last water point before crossing the huge Erg Chegaga with its never ending dunes. We took direction to the Algeria border on the forbidden track, so named because if you can’t avoid a military checkpoint without being seen, they stop you and make you go back.
At this stage I really felt the loneliness of the desert, in many hours we saw absolutely no one. This is unusual in Morocco where people comes when you least expect it. I remember the relief I felt when I saw a trace of tires showing us there is a track.
It look as if it was impossible to surround the dunes ... at times I was really afraid, I was too exhausted to turn back and retrace our steps back but had no idea either what lay ahead ... once we finished after ten hours riding non stop it was great... truly adventure!!.
The track also crosses Lake Iriki, a vast plain usually dry, but sometimes if it rains it can be a mud trap ...
So… many reasons to be excited looking for this stage.. I didn’t expect I could not do this track this time…

After a good breakfast as early as usual me start the engines. We filled the tanks because there are many km without refuelling, I had doubts whether the Super Ténéré have sufficient autonomy because the stage is about 350 km... In M'Hamid there is no gas station so we refuel in a small shop using bottles of water…. Lets see how the injection works with this petrol with “strange” colour…
A man appears in a 4x4. He tells us that we will suffer a lot with these bikes crossing the sand. It offers (paying, of course) to take the luggage and follow us in the car because otherwise we are going to have troubles... this guy does not know who he’s talking with!! We are the Transiberics!!, we don’t need help ... LOL. We declined politely the offer saying that we've been there before and we did cross the dunes ... Was it a premonition?.
We went into the dunes and begin to stuck, helping us to get off, the full tanks doesn’t help, we still moving but we're slow, too slow to complete this hard and long track ... and there is the Chegaga deep sand in the middle …
But I felt quite confident in the sand, much more than in the previous days… I was having fun. Perhaps I was overconfident so I didn’t see a root hidden in the sand just before climbing a dune. At full throttle the rear wheel hits the root, slides and makes me hit the dune bike quite fast, I get fired and the bike falls sideways. It looks nothing has happened since the sand is soft. I pull back and meet with the others who are laughing… I had a nice fly in the sand… bastards... Before me, David did a superman in his GSA, Joan was tunnelling a dune and Enric made a geyser of sand. While Albert and his KTM progresses slowly but surely thanks to its six feet and long legs ... lucky him!
Suddenly I saw a red light on the dashboard, the temperature! Immediately I stop the bike and see the steam coming from the engine ... I suspect the problem. In this bike the radiator is on one side and if it falls to the left you can bend the fan bracket leaving him trapped against the radiator, so the fan engine burns. I don’t understand why there isn’t a fuse or something to stop the fan before that happens. So, here I am, with a broken fan in the middle of the dunes!!
There is nothing to do, just look for help. Luckily we still are near M'Hamid and there are a lot 4x4 crossing the dunes. If that had happened in the Chegaga: big problem!
Here it comes a Toyota with a lot of girls in it. They are going to M’Hamid. Soon there are plenty of volunteers to go in it to search some help... Joan and Enric are the lucky ones who are going in it while David, Albert and I stay there waiting them... Our question is whether those two are going to come again or stay with the girls ...
I am devastated and angry with myself ... how have I not checked that the fan was clogged?, this happened to me once, I unblocked the fan and everything was ok!
I phoned my dealer, he quickly starts to look if he can find a fan in this part of the world ... not easy, I am assuming that my trip ends here ...
After a while Joan and Enric arrive in a pickup ... we put the bike in the truck and I say goodbye to my colleagues that follow the route. The driver takes me to a small workshop in Oulad Driss, near M'hamid: Garage Dakar, remember this name if you have a trouble in this area….
I was amazed by how easily they took of the truck the big cow…. While haggling with the driver who wants to fleece me, I explain the problem to the mechanic with no hope it gets a solution. We reached an agreement with the guy from the pickup and I focus on the bike. Suddenly appears the mechanic with an old fan in his hand. He said it is a Polaris fan and he thinks it will be fine….
My strategy to not to pay a fortune was to show him I don’t have lot of money (true) and I’m not desperate (false). I said to him my bike already works in tarmac and the pickup driver took all my money so if he ask for too much money I can drive to the next village (Zagora) to a bank, and there’s plenty of mechanics… He thinks… and ask for 800 dirham (about 80 euros). I said this is a lot but ok if the bike is on the road in less than one our.
He opens big eyes, does a big smile and run to work immediately… I knew he was expected lot less money but if you think a Yamaha fan is about 400 euros and perhaps I can finish my trip… is a bargain.
He quickly replaces the fan and we turn on the bike… at 105 degrees the fan must run:
100, 101, ... 104, 105 ... IT WORKS! We hugged, and we have a celebration tea, he has plenty of time to win the 800 dirham!!!
I call the dealer Ausió, he is happy to hear I’m on again. He started an operation to send me a fan but would have cost me at least a day trip ... and a lot of money!! But I know he tried hard to help, good guy.
With the bike fixed I’m going again, I’m so happy!!. Logically I will not follow my colleagues, there is a road option to reach Tata but there is much longer than the off road track so I must move quick or I must drive by night. From M'Hamid to Zagora (100km), Zagora to Foum Zguid ( 125km) and then to Tata (140km).
I enjoy the scenery but I must be very alert to the road, a narrow strip of asphalt in the centre and sand on both sides, when a car or a truck is coming in the opposite way is always dangerous.
I reach Zagora, took money from bank. Soon I'm surrounded by people, my bike gets a lot of attention, certainly is not a discreet bike…. A young guy said this is a Dakar bike and asked me to go with him to his mechanic workshop to show the bike to his colleagues and take a picture of it. I agreed as I want some information about the route I need to do to reach Tata where I have the hotel and my colleagues.
For the first time during the trip I feel I am not in hurry, I can get into the country, talking to people, live the trip otherwise…. We arrived at the shop and everybody stop his work to see the bike and talk to me. They offer me a tea, food, water ... in Morocco are always so hospitable ... I asked them what is the fastest way to get to Tata. There are two forms: an enormous roundabout thru mountain roads -and that means to do many miles at night-, or a dirt track, which I thought it was the road to Foum Zguid. Then there is a road to Tata. They said the track is under construction to build a road and there are some bad sections and a river full of stones I need to cross several times.
I choose to go down the track, I don’t like the idea to drive by night. They put a sticker on the bike with their phone in case I need help ... mmm … what does it means?...
I put gas in and out of Zagora. The track begins ... fantastic, quick and tidy ... the miles go by ... but the track narrows ... starts to be worse… stones… larger stones... huge stones! The dry river… Suddenly I get a flash that leaves me frozen: I don’t have any tools to replace a puncture!!
To avoid lot of weight we distribute the tools in the 5 bikes and I forgot to ask for the levers. I always have more tools that I need but now here I am, alone in the middle of nowhere and I can’t mend a simple puncture!! How stupid…
I started again but what before were simple stones now they seem like cutting blades looking my tires...
The incredible scenery make me forget the problem, I need to stop to take pictures, I’ve got nobody ask me to be in hurry, the evening light is amazing, the feeling of loneliness is complete, I never felt like this before, this is new to me… and I like it!!
After a long bad track and crossing the dry stony river several times, the asphalt starts again, is the first time in my life I’m happy to change dirt track for tarmac!!. Stop to take some pictures with camels and reached Foum Zguid. I enjoy the sunset. Here at night you have to drive very carefully, you find people and cyclists without lights everywhere ...
I arrive at the hotel in Tata: I had been here before, is a beautifully restored old house by some French. My fellows just arrived, when they see me and I’d explain the bike works perfect they can’t believe it, they thought my trip was finished in M’Hamid. Hugs, cheers and dinner.
Because of my problem they have not been able to do all the track, and they avoid the Erg Chegaga but they been able to cross the beautiful dry lake Iriki and most of the track. But we are together again and tomorrow we start the track in the Atlas, unknown to most of us.

I go to sleep with one idea over my head: I love going with my friends, I laugh with them, enjoying giving full throttle at his side, the conversations and jokes at dinner. They give me security and confidence to get to impossible places without them ... but I also liked this day alone, at my own pace, go quick or stop when I like without thinking that I’m annoying to the rest of the group. Today I missed the most expecting stage but I don’t mind, I liked to talk with the locals, the adventure of the mechanic, negotiate with those masters of haggle and eventually agree with them (even if I know they always win...).
I’m getting old and start to look for something else that going full throttle on the roads. I want to learn more about this amazing country and its people, not pass go as I did... next time I may come alone ...

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Old 04-15-2013, 10:43 PM   #47
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4th day video

M'Hamid - Tata: Sand, falls and riding solo...

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Old 04-18-2013, 12:32 AM   #48
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5th stage: Tata - Boumalne Dades

I get up very early. It worth watching the sunrise from the hotel terrace. Gradually sunlight is illuminating the palm forest below. I do the same pictures I did three years ago from this same place, it's beautiful. It's amazing the change that occurs between absolute dryness and intense green when there is water, the river is like a green snake which extends beyond my sight. People are working in their green gardens and loading small trailers pulled by their Mobylettes.

My colleagues woke up and we started the breakfast from this privileged high point that is our hotel.

During breakfast and also for dinner yesterday, I explained how much I liked ride solo, having more time to take pictures and see the place. I try to do it without looking like I'm not having fun with them ... I do not need a lot of explaining, they understand perfectly, they had this feeling as well. We quickly agreed that we have to take advantage of these two new stages for us to see new landscapes and make lots of pictures. The advantage over previous stages is that there are many roads so we can provide alternatives if we need to cut the track. Our fear is that we are told that most tracks in the area that we visit are now paved. What is progress for the Moroccans for us is a mess ...

As each day at 8:00 we started. We left Tata by road, we ride slower than in previous days. The day is beautiful, the ideal temperature ... I’m distracted looking at the strange shapes of the mountains and didn’t realize that Enric had slowed adjusting their GPS, I didn’t hit him but it was close… we mustn’t be distracted even for a moment!.

As usual people wave us passing through the villages, especially children who come running at us, we must be careful as sometimes they come too close to the bike. Finally the asphalt ends and began to climb, the shapes of the mountains are amazing, every moment would stop to take pictures, the I couldn’t stop the GoPro ... we go down and get into the bed of a river, they are building a road, possibly when we come back here this track will be paved. The vertical walls surrounding the track are impressive.

We began to find small villages tucked into the canyon. Where there is water there is life. Suddenly we find a bulldozer in the middle of the track, but aside to let us pass we find a pile of rocks where they are working, here do not bother to leave an alternative, if you like to pass ok.. if not ... is your problem!
At the end of the work zone, a huge palm forest appears in the canyon formed by the river, the houses are perched on the hillside and the track runs right through the middle of the palms: we are in Aguinane.

We do some pictures to our sponsors: Rev'it, Ausió, Yamalube, Galfer and Giant Loop. Many thanks to all!!

At the end of the village, the track climbs up the mountain doing some incredible turns, the view from the top is beautiful. Soon they will have a road but for now it takes several hours of mountain trails to get there.

At the top, the landscape changes completely, we change the river canyon to high mountain plains, immense. In winter must be very cold, in fact the temperature has cooled a lot ... a wet fog appears and it starts raining.

We arrived at a small village where the trail ends. We are cold and stopped for a tea. We are the centre of attention. At the bar we ask how is the track to Ouarzazate. They say in winter the snow and water have destroyed the track, the pass thru te mountains is very dangerous, so we must turn back to find a paved road... yuk!. The Transibéricos don’t turn back… and less to take a paved road!! We decided to continue up despite the advice. They look us with a face to not understand anything and make us an international sign with his index finger to his head... yeah, we're crazy!

After a short while, as they have said, the track disappears into a riverbed. We cross it several times without too much trouble but it forces us to go slow. The journey has been so nice that we had frequent stops to take photos and we are going very late, if we continue at this rhythm we are going to finish at night.

I like a lot this series of pictures David did:

The track climbs steadily and suddenly we find the last thing we needed on this trip: snow!!. Ideal for a little more dramatic chronicle and have a good pictures album but is getting darker and do this track by night will not be fun ... we help us to cross the mud and snow to avoid at all costs a fall or a break... also we feel tired... so if this continues like this we will have a hard time ...

The scenery is spectacular, high mountain, no signs of humans, we reached 2500 meters, pity is foggy and visibility is poor. Suddenly the sky opens and we see the tops of the mountains, amazing!!.

It's almost night, luckily we got to the road just in time. It's cold, we stop at a petrol station to put some more clothes and call the hotel we are late. No problem, they expect us and give us dinner ... good people.
We arrived at 11 pm, exhausted but it was worth it, I think is the most beautiful stage I've ever done, the Atlas has exceeded my expectations.

The last surprise was the hotel room: a nice little cave:

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Old 04-19-2013, 01:40 PM   #49
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BRAVO!!! Thanks for posting, you guys have balllZZZZ on those big old honking pigs!
Go to COHVCO.ORG to purchase an SOS sticker and become a FRIEND OF COHVCO
Then post a picture of the sticker on your OHV and post it on COHVCO's Facebook page to show your support,
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Old 04-19-2013, 02:24 PM   #50
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The Suit:What would you consider to be your greatest weakness?
Me: Honesty.
The Suit: Honesty? I don't think honesty could be construed as a weakness.
Me: I don't give a fuck what you think.
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Old 04-20-2013, 10:47 AM   #51
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Video: From Tata to beautiful Aguinane Canyon

A new video:
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Old 04-20-2013, 01:08 PM   #52
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I thought i was crazy
Balls said the queen, if i'd had two of 'm i'd be king
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Old 04-21-2013, 04:43 AM   #53
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Originally Posted by hookeniggy View Post
I thought i was crazy
There is always someone worst ...

The problems beguin: where is the track??
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Old 04-21-2013, 02:14 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by jaumev View Post
0:27 into that video

Close call mate!

This has been a great ride report, good job with the photos and video, I'll be there in a week for my first time, on a F800GS, so we will be able to swap notes at the end.
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Old 04-22-2013, 04:56 AM   #55
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Originally Posted by bastimentos View Post
0:27 into that video

Close call mate!

This has been a great ride report, good job with the photos and video, I'll be there in a week for my first time, on a F800GS, so we will be able to swap notes at the end.
Yeap... that was too close

Tell me if you need something. Good luck
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Old 04-22-2013, 04:57 AM   #56
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Last video day 5: Snow!
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Old 04-22-2013, 10:02 PM   #57
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Really enjoyed your R & R.
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Old 04-23-2013, 01:18 AM   #58
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Last day: Boumande Dades - Midelt

We got up knowing that this will be our last off road day. Tomorrow from Midelt to Melilla is going to be a boring road, then the ferry to Malaga, more road to Almería, load the bikes on our trailers and to Barcelona by car.
So, we must enjoy it!.
The view to Boumande Dades with snowy mountains in the background from our cave rooms is spectacular.

During breakfast we talk about yesterday's stage, the passage of the river, the snow ... this are the days we always going to remember.
Today's stage is unknown to most of us. Joan and Enric did it time ago, it is very long and at the end it was night. To not happen to us this time we should go quick, we would not want to miss the Jaffar Circus views.
We left Boumande Dades by paved road, we are getting into the Dades gorges. The vertical walls are around us. Suddenly the road does impossible and steep esses. At the top we have to stop to take pictures, the view is breathtaking.

We continue by paved road but it is the kind that does not mind doing, we like to stop at every moment to take pictures: above the blue sky without a cloud, below the white snow in the mountains, in the sides impossibly shaped rocks and below deep green showing where there is water.

The dirt track begins, it rises steadily, the snow is getting closer, sure it would have been impossible pass thru here few weeks ago. We reached 3000 meters, the views are incredible.

The track is good and invites to open the throttle but the scenery is so beautiful that we hold. I’m trying to memorize everything I see, it's impossible but I try... We rolled on high mountain slopes without seeing anyone, spaces are huge…. In Europe it is impossible ride in a place like this on motorbike.
So far the tracks are ideal for our cows, they really are to enjoy: wide, fast... with an enduro bike it could be almost boring but with the Super Ténéré the miles pass by without effort, I have only to enjoy the pleasure of driving and see the scenery.

We arrived to Imilchil lunchtime, there are many restaurants roasting lamb in the street, the smell is tempting but we know that if we stopped for lunch probably lose the Cirque de Jaffar, one of the objectives of the trip, so resist the temptation and we just put gas, have tea and finish the few supplies we are .... then we will see that it will be worthwhile.
We follow the route, the landscape changes and suddenly we arrive to a cedar forest, funny to see these trees here. The track leaves the main road near a small village. The people try to convince us that we can’t follow this route but Joan and Enric said it is a beautiful passage crossing the river several times, so we took a chance. After a while we came to the river, the bridge is gone and down there is a lot of water, the temptation is there, do we go?. For once we are cautious, a fall in so much water may be the end of the trip so we turn around and follow the road.

We do many miles by road, I am boring and tired, lose concentration ... suddenly I am out of the road amid huge piles of stones, trying to save the situation. Interestingly the first thing that comes to my mind is not having a puncture ... I'm close to a serious fall and thinking in punctures!. When I've almost managed to stop the bike I loose the front wheel and I fall. Luckily it's at low speed and nothing happens, the protections do their job, some little scratches and nothing else. Amazing considering all the stones around me.
My colleagues arrive, seeing the bike lying in the middle of the stones they think the worst, once again we were very lucky
We start again, now I’m with all my senses… I don’t want to repeat the experience… The road through the forest is beautiful, high snowy mountains around us until we reached the famous Cirque de Jaffar. Fantastic!

We stopped to take pictures and discuss what to do. There are two options: follow the usual track or descend to a gorge we saw in google earth. The second option is the one we like best but it follows a river so it can change often and we don’t have idea if is able. In addition we have little time light.
Be cautious twice in the same day is too much so we decided to go down even though local people try again to stop us: too dangerous!! they said….
We get into a almost dry river bed filled with stones, suddenly a huge wall seems that it cut our way, but it is not, we follow the water and we see that there is a narrow gorge through which we get.
It's amazing; I had never been on a place like this in my bike. The site looks like something out of Indiana Jones film.
We stopped to take pictures but we must move, soon is going to be dark. A shame not to be more time here.

The passage through the throat becomes more complicated, hope there is a way ot... then is getting wider. Suddenly Joan and Enric stop before a huge rise full of stones. It's almost night. They say that if we follow the river is a very long way and is goin to be dark, the rise is the option to shorten it up over there. They say that the last time they passed through here it was night... they are worse than I thought: crazy!!
We are tired, the tires are nearly without knobs, the luggage in the bikes… it doesn’t seem possible go over there but if they did it we must try…
We give the honour to be the first to Albert, with his long legs and his KTM Superenduro. It is not easy but gets up. We can reach above all when it gets dark: mission accomplished! Another Transibérica is done!!


Hugs, photos and let’s go to Midelt.
We arrived at the hotel at the night again. The comment at the dinner was unanimous, we thought yesterday's stage was unbeatable but today’s has not been left behind.

In summary. Morocco has exceeded my expectations once again. I loved the Atlas and I have wanted to explore it more time. Maybe with a lighter bike to get around everywhere, is spectacular.
Regarding my bike: I really wanted to try the Super Ténéré in this area. Overall I had a great fun except in the sand when I was tired.
In most of the track it is a great bike, comfortable with good aerodynamics riding standing up or seating. In rocky areas thanks to its suspension I noticed much improvement over the GS. Overall very good except for the fan failure. It was because I fall, okay, but if I keep doing this kind of trips I have to find a solution so it would not happen again.
As always a thumb up for my teammates Albert, Joan, David and Enric but we miss the rest of transibéricos this time were unable to come.
Finally we must thank Rev'it, Motorcycles Ausió, Yamalube, Galfer and Giant Loop to supported us once again, in this difficult times is a privilege to have them give us a hand so we can complete our adventure.
Now prepare the next .... let’s see what we can do!

jaumev screwed with this post 04-23-2013 at 01:27 AM
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Old 04-23-2013, 03:11 AM   #59
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Originally Posted by jaumev View Post
I know... is impossible you don't like this beauty:

27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000 width=18 height=18>

What an amazing design. incredible. GREAT,CONGRATULATIONS...
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Old 04-23-2013, 03:25 AM   #60
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Thumb Great report

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